Four twenty-three year old women share an apartment on the upper East side of New York in the sixties. Leigh Owen knew Cady Fineman from college. Together they find two more roommates Vanessa Preet, an airline stewardess, gorgeous and certain never to be home longer than to change clothes, and Susan Brown, colorless, but obliging who contributes a television set.
The girs soon find Susan incompatible and tell her to leave by Labor Day weekend. When each returns from the holiday, they find that Susan had thrown herself from the roof.
Although feeling guilty about the way they had treated Susan who wrote "I'll show them." in her diary, the girls get on with their lives. Vanessa has a casual affair with an attractive pilot. Cady and Leigh both date married men. Leigh is seeing David Graham, a partner in the advertising firm where she works, and Cady falls in love with Paul, a successful businessman.
Paul sets up Cady in an apartment of her own. She overcomes her distaste for being a kept woman, realizing that her job as a teacher in a private school will never bring her he material things she covets.
Leigh makes no demands on David who loves her enough to leave his wife and marry her. Vanessa marries her handsome pilot after finding herself pregnant and moves to California. But the women keep in touch; meeting for lunch , and in Vanessa's case, flying in from the coast."How could anyone survive without best friends, no matter how much you loved a man. Friends ...were your safety net." Cady thought.
The novel follows the roommates' lives into their sixties. Will Paul ever leave his wife and marry Cady? Will Vanessa stay married to her pilot despite her need to have affairs with other men? Will Leigh's David live a long life to continue the happiness they have found together?
An unexpected mention of Susan reappears at the end of the story and the real cause of her death adds a moral twinge to this romantic story.
This report prepared by Betty-Jeanne Korson